WINCHESTER'S MP recently met the boss of Southern Water for an update on the company’s recent performance.

Meeting at Platform 1 café at Shawford Railway Station, Steve Brine raised a variety of concerns with CEO Lawrence Gosden, relating to Combined Storm Overflows (CSOs), when sewage is dicharged into watercourses, issues at Easton Water Supply Works in January, Southern Water’s recent cyber-attack, works at the Otterbourne Water Supply Works and chronic flooding in Brambridge.

CSOs continue to be one of the biggest points of contention relating to water companies in the UK and Mr Brine has dedicated his time to more closely understand the issue.

The ‘storm overflow discharge reduction plan’, brought about by the Environment Act, requires water companies to make their largest infrastructure spend in water company history to increase capacity. It is backed by up to £56bn capital investment.

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The Environment Agency and Ofwat have launched the largest ever criminal and civil investigations into waste-water treatment works and they’ve dramatically increased funding for EA inspections via the ‘Plan for Water’.

Hampshire Chronicle: Southern Water map

The government has also ringfenced now unlimited fines from water companies so that they don’t go to HM Treasury but stay in DEFRA for environmental projects. Last spring, the Secretary of State announced the storm overflow target will be enshrined in law.

During Mr Brine's meeting on Friday, February 23, he learned about Southern Water's new interactive map which allows users to see every storm overflow in the region. It also includes planned works for the overflows that currently do not meet the Government’s target.

The map can be found here: 

The past two winters have seen the local community hampered by disruptions to the water supply, stemming from issues at Otterbourne and Easton Water Supply Works. 

Mr Brine robustly criticised Southern Water on national and local media during the multiple outages and is now welcoming the investment which hopes to reduce chances of repeats.

Southern Water has announced the ‘Southampton Link Main’ which seeks to connect Otterbourne Water Supply Works with Andover and Testwood, ensuring water can be swiftly moved around the network in line with demand. These pipes will make-up part of the wider Hampshire Grid.

Following his meeting, Mr Brine said: “A really insightful and useful meeting with Lawrence Gosden and Southern Water which allows me to understand the issues facing my constituents more clearly.

“I always appreciate the openness and honesty about their progress as well as their failings and left them in no doubt we need to see significant progress in all areas. I’ve left them with plenty of homework for the coming months and will be keeping extremely close tabs on it all.”